Railway workers join protest against PIA privatisation

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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Railways employees leaders on Wednesday threatened to suspend train service across the country, if the government goes ahead with its plan to privatise the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), besides condemning the use of force against its employees.

They were protesting against the killing of two employees of PIA and its proposed privatisation.

More than 250 employees gathered at Rawalpindi Railway Station and condemned the killing of two PIA employees. Prem Union of Jamaat-i-Islami and Railways Workers Association jointly organised the protest.

The protesters were carrying placards and chanted slogans against the government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Talking to Dawn, Prem Union leader Ch Zahoor said that the railway workers would continue supporting workers and labourers rights and did not allow the government to sell the national assets like PIA, Railway, Wapda and other organisations.

He said the workers community across the country joined hands for their rights and it would not allow anyone to play with the lives of poor workers.

“Killing of two PIA employees is condemnable and the government should be ready to face the reaction of the working class,” he said.

“We are with the PIA employees and we will stop the trains across the country if the government does not stop from its proposed privatisation plan of the national flag carrier,” said Shabbir Chaudhry, Railway Workers Union President.

He said all the groups of the railway unions had decided to join hands for the rights of the workers and it would start agitation across the country.

“Railway minister’s statement is condemnable in which he stated that the rail service would continue even without railway employees,” he said.

He said the railway employees would stop the trains and the ministers and government would not be able to run the service. He said a joint action committee had been formed to plan protests across the country.

Meanwhile, Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab also organised a meeting at Benazir Bhutto Hospital to condemn the killing of two PIA employees and demanded an inquiry into the incident.

YDA Rawalpindi Chapter president Dr. Haider Akhter told Dawn that protest of the employees was their right and the government should not have used force against them. YDA supports the PIA employees it their struggle against the proposed privatisation plan.

He said the PML-N government was privatising all the institutions even hospitals in the province and doctors were against its proposed plan and they would resist the government’s move.